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Checklist for Buying a House

There are so many questions and doubts that creep into one’s mind as one begins the process of buying an apartment. Here’s a short checklist to help you

Mobilize funds

Buying a flat requires careful preparation. The first thing one needs to take into consideration (unless one has ready cash in hand) is how much money can be mobilized. If you are planning to take a loan, scout around the market for one that suits you. Take into consideration the amount you have in hand or can encash, (savings, investments, provident fund, LIC etc) and the loan amount you are entitled to.

Select an area

Next you need to decide the locality you would like to live in. The heart of town and certain posh localities have a higher rate per square foot than suburban areas. Proximity to slums, water-logging in the area, safety, greenery, open spaces, good approach roads, shopping centers, bus-stops…each of us has our preferences and dislikes. Make sure the neighborhood you select suits your needs.

Brand new versus second-hand

You also need to decide whether you are going in for a brand new flat or a second-hand one. The second-hand ones come much cheaper, but maintenance would be higher, particularly if it’s over five years old. Wiring, bathroom fittings, plumbing, walls, woodwork, ceilings…any of these could require additional work, which translate into additional costs after you move in.

Duties and Fees

One needs to factor in the Stamp Duty and Registration costs that have to be paid for both second-hand and brand new flats. Some building promoters include this in the cost of the flat, but many add it on as an extra.

Payment terms

Don’t forget the payment terms. If you have ready cash available, or your loan amount permits, you could buy a second-hand flat. Here the entire payment will need to be made before you buy the flat. The advantage is that you can pay the full amount and the house is immediately yours.

However, if full payment is a problem, or is putting too much strain on your resources, look for promoters who have just begun construction. Payment stipulations are more fluid then. Different builders have different payment terms. But ensure that you choose a reputed builder so that your hard-earned savings don’t get squandered away.

Correct measurements

When buying a flat check out the exact square foot area: does the seller mean the plinth area (which includes the thickness of the walls), or the carpet area (i.e. the floor area). Also, does the cost for this area (e.g. an 800sq.ft. flat) include the common area (staircase, corridors, lift, pump and generator rooms etc.)? Find out the exact extent of cost one has to bear for the common area.

Check for deviations

Before buying a flat, it is always better to consult an independent architect or engineer to check for any deviations. You wouldn’t want your flat demolished a few years later or have to pay a hefty fine because the promoter has deviated from specifications. Insist that the agreement clearly states that the building is constructed strictly in accordance with the sanctioned plan and the purchaser is not responsible for any deviations.

Inspect the Title Deed

And most importantly – whether you are buying a new or second-hand house – make sure the Title Deed is scrutinized by a lawyer. If the title is defective (for example, someone who does not have title to the property sells it or the property has been mortgaged) you could be in trouble later.

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